Swedish worker delegates' speech at the 107th International Labour Conference, ILO

International issues Speech held by Swedish workers' delegate at the plenary session of the ILO Conference on the 1st of June.

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Each year the worker delegate is given the opportunity to address the plenary for maximum five minutes at the ILO Labour Conference. LO commented on the report of the Director General which emphasised a push for equality. The workers' delegate also commented on the annual report on the situation of workers in the occupied Arab territories. When 30 seconds remained of the speaking time, the President of the conference Mr Samir Murad (Jordan) abruptly terminated the worker delegates' speech without any clear explanation. A complaint was made by the Swedish workers' delegate and the answer received from the office was not at all acceptable or gave any explanation to the termination.

Esteemed President. 

On behalf of the Swedish workers I would like to emphasise the following:
Next year the ILO will celebrate one hundred years of struggle for peace and decent work. The challenges that lie ahead for the next hundred years and the future of work come in many forms: populism, hostile political agendas, precarious employment and extremely fragmented production. The technology may be new but the struggle and challenges for decent work and fundamental rights are the same.

The fundamental objective for the ILO since the establishment of the organisation has been to strive for peace and to fight all kinds of unrest. The road to success goes via decent work, equity, democracy, gender equality, freedom and security. For that reason, a strong and forceful ILO is more relevant and critical in 2018 than it has been for a long time.

The Director General’s report emphasises the key role the ILO must play in taking on the fight against the unfair world of work for women; the ILO must be in the forefront to make a strong push for equality.

The global #metoo movement bore witness to the millions of women who are victims of harassment and violence in their daily lives. This discrimination is apparent everywhere, but it clearly shows that most of the harassment occurs in women’s work places. It´s time to stop talking, now we need action and that’s why we the workers of Sweden urge governments and employers to meet our demand for a new convention together with a recommendation against harassment and violence against women and men in the world of work.

Social dialogue is a cornerstone of the ILO. We welcome the recurrent discussion on social dialogue. Respect for the constituents is a precondition for creating a world of work based on Decent Work. The ILO recently demonstrated that countries like Sweden, with strong social partners and respect for workers’ rights, including the right to strike, are better prepared and are more resilient in the event of financial and social unrest and research clearly state that they score the highest when in come to productivity and equality.

Two years ago in the UN General Assembly the Swedish Prime Minister launched the concept of a Global Deal. With more than 90 affiliated unions, businesses and governments the goal of the initiative is within reach.

For states, the Global Deal means ratifying and respecting the ILO’s core conventions, including the right to organise, the right to negotiate and the right to strike, as well as recognising social dialogue as an essential part of the democratic form of government.

For employers and companies, this means respecting these rights in practice, taking their social responsibility and being prepared to negotiate agreements locally, regionally or globally.

For trade unions, it means cooperating and taking social responsibility when they negotiate, but also contributing to the overall development of companies.

The Swedish workers together with the ITUC would like to encourage the ILO and employers to not only continue but also to step up their efforts to endorse the Global Deal in the on-going discussions here at the conference, in link to the discussion on development and Agenda 2030

On behalf of LO and TCO I want to express our profound solidarity with the working men and women of Palestine. The Director General’s report about workers of the occupied Arab territories demonstrates that the decent work deficit in Palestine is alarming - We share the hopelessness and the urge for immediate change to address the reality of the ongoing de-development.

We together with the global trade union movement strongly condemn the extreme violence conducted by Israel last week: the violence and the killings must have stop immediately. The ILO was formed to preserve and develop peace, the action taken by the government of Israel is in direct conflict with that goal.

The occupation must end; the trade blockade must be terminated, and the daily harassment of civilians must be stopped. The workers of Palestine can no longer be denied the right to decent work and a better future.

We welcome the Swedish government’s recognition of Palestine as a state and we believe that it will support the progressive forces both in Palestine and Israel to act towards achieving a two-state solution.

We want to reaffirm our support to finding a lasting solution that will lead to Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security but today all we can see is an unfair occupation leading in the opposite direction. It is only when dialogue replaces violence that a just, two-state solution can be achieved. 
The Swedish workers will continue to provide solidarity and support to the Palestinian workers.

Thank you!

Link to the speech: www.ilo.org/ilcspeeches

Workers Delegate: Oscar Ernerot https://loblog.lo.se/author/oscarernerot/